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#1 ROB Collier

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 06:49 AM

We are faced with trying to produce good looking modern reports, but are not sure of what to use (Obviously not ProIV reporting). Because some of our users are right at the bottom end of the market we can't use a tool that costs as much as a ProIV licence, but those users still require some level of professional reporting. Could you please either reply to this thread or directly to us and let us know what the general community use. We don't want to report directly from the database as we would like to retain our business rules within our existing reports, so something that accepts XML or csv files would be ideal. Thanks

#2 Mike Wright

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 07:23 AM

Two methods we're using are:

1) Output pro-iv data as xml into a file, then merge this into an xsl stylesheet and open in Internet Explorer (the xsl simply emulates a html form, and can be made to look really good).
This method is cool as no extra software is needed.

2) Output pro-iv data to a file, then merge the contents of the file into a Microsoft Word RTF file (we wrote a C program to do this). Then open or print the RTF file through the pro-iv client.

We're also doing similar stuff with pro-iv and Microsoft Excel using macros.

Hope this helps

Edited by Mike Wright, 06 April 2004 - 07:27 AM.

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#3 Sindre Solem

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 02:03 PM

We use the following method:

1. Pro-IV outputs XML data (not the native XML Report)

2. Starts a program that applies a stylesheet and runs Apache's FO processor
to create a PDF file

3. Opens the resulting document with Adobe Acrobat

We even use this for programs that create thousands of invoices.

#4 Lewis Mccabe

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 04:51 PM

Sindre ,

How much work was it to implement your printing solution? It sounds as if it might be the answer for us. How much additional overhead?

Thanks.

Lew

#5 Joseph Bove

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 07:19 PM

Sindre,

Did you have an easy time overcoming Page Breaks / repeating page headings on the invoices?

Also, how much are you dressing up your invoices?

Finally, what sort of overhead has this added to printing?

We're currently doing this in HTML, but HTML has been a touch difficult to work with.

Thanks in advance,

Joseph

#6 Joseph Bove

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 07:29 PM

Mike,

How much time did it take to build the XSL that you are currently using?

If you are proficient in HTML is XSL easy to learn?

Do you handle page breaks, reprinted headings, etc?

Do you always have to print through IE?

Thanks in advance,

Joseph

#7 Mike Wright

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 06:33 AM

Joseph,

XSL stylesheets are straightforward enough - I just got an example from the web and hacked it until it worked. It's basically structured HTML with embedded tags for the XML. If you know HTML you will have no problem.

It is, however, more suited for single page reports than multi-pages with breaks, etc.

I'm not sure if you have to print throught IE - we do because it's the default application and it's on everyone's PC.


The other method I mentioned (Microsoft Word RTF) might be better for multi-page?

Mike
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#8 andykay

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 09:51 AM

Hi Rob,

I'm not sure how much you can afford to spend, but as for most everything in life, you can make do with the free stuff. But if you want professional looking reports, then you need a professional application.

Have you heard about JetForms? It can handle XML, and regular TXT data, output Graphics, Bar Codes, can handle Dual Sided printing, Create PDF's and basic HTML reports.

Take a look at the attached file as a sample of a non-dymanic form PDF output. If you'd like an example of a dynamic form output, I can create one and send it to you.

Regards,

AK

Attached Files


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#9 George Macken

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 11:06 AM

Andy

Please post an example of a dynamic form output.

Something on my todo list is to investigate the replacement of a Document Production solution for a client.

The PRO-IV system generates a text file/records per document, these files are then fed into Word Mail Merge - Word97 - template is currently 60pages (its sort of dynamic, depending on the data it outputs/not some pages/paragraphs). As template is so large only small volume can be produced at any time - the template is just too large and becoming unmaintainable.

Would you recommend Jetform to remedy the above problem

Tnks

George

#10 andykay

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 02:58 PM

The PRO-IV system generates a text file/records per document, these files are then fed into Word Mail Merge - Word97 - template is currently 60pages (its sort of dynamic, depending on the data it outputs/not some pages/paragraphs). As template is so large only small volume can be produced at any time - the template is just too large and becoming unmaintainable.

Hi George,

Here is a copy of a dynamic report as you requested. There are 3 PDF's showing the way that JetForms handles different amounts of data on the report. It is the same report, written once in JetForms.

In short, JetForms has absolutely NO processing power behind it...AT ALL! All processing would be done in ProIV, as you are doing now. JetForms only gives you a way to present your data professionally, and with very little maintenance. This report here is a copy of probably the most dynamic report I've written. It has 10 areas where the report can be dynamic. Most dynamic reports, though, aren't more than 3-5 pages Max of JetForms design.

As for would I recommend it? If you want to output professional looking reports, invoices, bar codes, graphics...then yes, I would recommend it. But if you're only looking to simplify that one 60 page beast of a report, I'm sure that there are more viable options for you.

Now, as far as I've been able to figure out, I can only place 1 attachment to a reply at a time, so I am going to have to make 2 additional postings along with this one so that you can get all the PDF's.

In addition, if you'll post a copy of the data file, or something similar to it if legal issues prohibit you, and a copy of the final output, I'll create a JetForms output and you can compare the two.

If you have any questions, let me know...I'll follow this thread.

AK

Attached Files


THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL IS THE HEADLAMP OF THE TRAIN THAT'S ABOUT TO HIT YOU!!!

#11 andykay

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 02:58 PM

Dynamic Report 2 of 3 PDF

Attached Files


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#12 andykay

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 02:59 PM

Dynamic Report 3 of 3 PDF

Attached Files


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#13 Joseph Bove

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 04:00 PM

FYI,

I tried to look up information on Jet Forms and they no longer exist.

Jet Forms was bought up by Adobe and has been shelved. The replacement product is Adobe Forms Designer and retails for $1,695.

Andy - my question to you is this and I'm all but sure the answer is yes...

In order for this solution to work, would you need to purchase and install Adobe Forms Designer for every client who wanted to make use of it?

It looks like a great solution, but the majority of our clients probably would not tolerate the price tag. Some of the bigger clients might.

Thanks in advance,

Joseph

#14 andykay

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 04:39 PM

That is correct, Joseph.

JetForms has been acquired by Adobe...hence why I included Adobe's logo on the examples provided.

Your clients would have to purchase JetForms Client. But unlike ProIV, they do not charge per user. A small price considering the latter.

As I said, if you are only looking for a way to circumvent a few beasty reports, then JetForms would not be the way to go. But if you are looking to redesign your product and give your product outputs that look of "cutting edge", then I would give JetForms serious consideration.

You are right in that your bigger clients would appreciate what you could give them with JetForms rather than your smaller clients. I am not sure what the total costs are for setting up JetForms on one's site, for I have only dealt with environments where they have already purchased JetForms and only needed reports created. You noted $1695. Knowing Adobe, this sounds a little on the low side. I'd be surprised if that was all.

Hope this helps.

AK
THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL IS THE HEADLAMP OF THE TRAIN THAT'S ABOUT TO HIT YOU!!!

#15 Lewis Mccabe

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 05:22 PM

This is a hot topic for many PRO-IV VARS and end users. For VARS selling a software package they need it to stay competitive. End users need it for productivity.

We are very interested in getting a top shelf PRO-IV reporting solution as are many others. I know I can speak for us as well as another PRO-IV software house. We are looking for an easy to implement solution which is feature rich, robust, and extensible, which we own and pay no royalties for. I think many others are as well.

I posted a question on the same topic here last October. Neil Mellis from PRO-IV responded that style sheets are a good way to go. For any who don't know him, Neil knows his stuff . Here is the forum link:
http://www.proivrc.c...&hl=style sheet


We are looking for such a solution - either to buy outright or have written. Contact me if:
1. You have such a solution and are willing to sell it outright (onetime fee with no deployment royalties)
2. If you have the time, really know your stuff, and have the requisite skills to write such a solution
3. If you or your firm would be interested in helping fund such a project and receive a full license to all the code.

Lew



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